“Touching The Void” Chapter 1 – Beneath The Mountain Lakes

 “We took the customary summit photos and ate some chocolate. I felt the usual anti-climax. What now? It was a vicious circle. If you succeed with one dream, you come back to square one and it’s not long before you’re conjuring up another, slightly harder, a bit more ambitious – a bit more dangerous. I didn’t like the thought of where it might be leading me. As if, in some strange way, the very nature of the game was controlling me, taking me towards a logical but frightening conclusion; it always unsettled me, this moment of reaching the summit, this sudden stillness and quiet after the storm, which gave me time to wonder what I was doing and sense a niggling doubt that perhaps I was inexorably losing control – was I here purely for pleasure or was it egotism? Did I really want to come back for more? But these moments were also good times, and I knew that the feelings would pass. Then I could excuse them as morbid pessimistic fears that had no sound basis.” Joe Simpson, Touching the Void, p.53

Why are these lines included in the text?What do they reveal about the author?What important ideas/messages do these lines reveal about the “dangerous
men” that T.E.Lawrence refers to in the opening of the texT

  • In the sentences “I didn’t like the thought of where it might be leading me. As if, in some strange way, the very nature of the game was controlling me, taking me towards a logical but frightening conclusion; it always unsettled me, this moment of reaching the summit, this sudden stillness and quiet after the storm, which gave me time to wonder what I was doing and sense a niggling doubt that perhaps I was inexorably losing control – was I here purely for pleasure or was it egotism?” Joe reveals that he is not confident about the climb because he feels that the more mountains he conquers what harder and more dangerous ones would he would want to climb next. Joe wonders if he will ever be satisfied with the difficulty of the mountains or if he will ever be able to stop climbing them.   He also shows that he can self-reflect a good quality because you can fix what you think is going wrong.

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